Instinct. in·stinct \ˈin-ˌstiŋ(k)t\: A natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency.

Last week I had a revelation I want to share with you. Trusting your instinct really works. Really? Not that mind boggling, I know but I had a string of recent incidents that reminded me that my instinct was right and I almost missed it. The signs were so subtle.  Looking back though, and taking time to review the puzzle pieces, it is now obvious that I had my answer right in front of me the whole time. It’s so easy in the stress of managing a family and a career to get consumed by the noise. However, it is important to make sure your instinct is a tool that you always have packed in your life survival backpack.

1  Take time out to listen: Recently I had a decision to make about joining a new team. I was so caught up in the actions, activities and the discussions that I could only see the finish line. I wanted to make sure that I won the race. Suddenly I stopped for a second and thought what if I actually get this job? What would it be like to be a part of the new team? Then I had a flashback of recent conversations with the hiring manager. I realized that in all of the conversations with this particular manager that I had never really connected with this person the way I do with others. His style and my style were different and not in a good way. Something in my gut told me to stop, this is not for you. I made the decision not to go to the team. As I started looking back at all the pieces of this puzzle, I realized that the answer was right in front me the whole time. I just didn’t see it because I didn’t pay attention to my instinct.

I want to share another example. I was so close to signing a deal with a customer and all the outward signs were pointing in the right direction. That night I went to bed and I swear I literally had a dream I was in a boxing ring. I was fighting an opponent in the ring and dropped to the ground, in slow motion, and as I hit the ground and my head bounced up. I said the words “He’s not going to sign”. Long story short, my intuition was correct. He did not sign. Again, I started to think about of all the non-verbal signs and warnings I had missed, and I started thinking about my gut feeling. I was trying so hard not to listen but my instinct actually forced its way to me through a dream. Crazy I know! Take time out in the quiet and meditate while thinking through a problem. Don’t ever dismiss what you feel in your gut.

2. Practice the skill. You need to practice listening to your instinct. I selfishly practice this all the time on someone else’s dime. I am always on the interview team for open positions at my company. So if someone has an opening and they want people to interview on behalf of the broader team or company, I always offer to do the interviews. I learn so much by doing this. I learn how to ask the right questions, make good decisions and I get to see the long term impact that the hiring decision makes on the company. There are so many times when I have thought, a subtle sign told me, “this person would not be a good fit”. Now I closely watch how they treat our admin when they arrive. I tried to remove any questions of what would you do and turn them into real problems they have to solve during the interview process. Anytime my gut has told me there is an issue, it was right. I was able to see that later when they were hired, and in some cases fired. It is clear to me now, more than ever, that there is something to be said for trusting your instinct. If, in your work role, you don’t have the opportunity to interview, think about applying the concept when you hire a contractor or a babysitter at home.

3. Do for yourself what you do for others. That’s backwards, I know, but, for Moms especially, sometimes this needs to be said. You may not do it well for yourself but you are fabulous at doing it for your loved ones. The best place to see intuition at work is with the people you love. It could be your parent, your child or your sibling, but you know right away if something is wrong. You sometimes know before your child does. You can tell by the way they walk off the bus, hold their head or the tone of their voice. What if you applied that same rigor to you and your intuition? Together it’s a powerful combination.

As simple as it sounds, trust your instinct. Chances are….. it’s right.

Buzz Worthy Lesson of the Day:

A busy bee can only hear the buzzing. Make time and listen for the subtle messages, the flutter of the wings. Trust your instinct!